Quick Hits is a (usually) daily segment at NCG that highlights games that may have been forgotten, will never be found, or otherwise deserve notice.
Vagrant Story seems to have come from the same intellectual wheelhouse of Square Soft that Parasite Eve did. It shares the weirdo quasi-real time, free-movement battle system. It shares the same quasi-horror vibes. Mostly though, Vagrant Story feels completely its own, and often, the progenitor for some of my favorite contemporary games.
One of its strongest suites is its sense of aesthetic and world building. It’s vacant and hallowed dungeon halls, as well as its dark and spartan story evoke the Souls games nearly ten years before their first entry.
The combat as well, is much more cerebral than many of its peers at the time. So much of the combat is dependent on how how you planned for it prior to the battle. Didn’t equip a weapon that crushes? Look forward to the Rock Golem fight taking upwards of a half hour, rather than several minutes. Part of me wonders if games like Monster Hunter, The Witcher, and again, Souls, took some inspiration from Vagrant Story.
That being said, Vagrant Story is from an era where strategy guides were a couple hundred pages long and $15 at Electronics Boutique, and some of the difficulty spikes in Vagrant Story are testament to that era. I recently played the first five or six hours and ended up stuck on the same boss that I couldn’t beat when I was eleven years old. Regardless, if you’ve never played Vagrant Story, I highly recommend giving it a shot.
You can pick up for your PS3 or Vita (which you totally still have, right?) for $5.99 on PSN.